Tagged: corruption

CHAOS AND ORDER

CHAOS

*ENGLISH  VERSION BELOW*

Jeg har nu været tilbage i Uganda i en uge og i vanlig stil hersker her kaos på den der vidunderlige TIA måde. Eller.. Ja, ironi kan forekomme, for det er altså ikke altid nemt at finde orden i kaosset.

Jeg havde ikke været her mere end et par dage før end der blev vendt op og ned på alting. Der skete en ret alvorlig ulykke i Semuto, hvor vi har marker og et lille landbrug og hvor den fremtidige skole skal være. Joels bil var involveret og årsag til ulykken, hvor en dreng pludselig løb over vejen. For at undgå at ramme drengen svingede chaufføren. Drengen kom intet til men bilen kørte galt og trillede fem gange. Fire personer var i bilen, hvoraf de tre mennesker kom på hospitalet. Daniel, som kørte bilen, slap med skrammer fordi han havde sele på. Politiet slog ham i stedet gul og blå – og benægtede det selvfølgelig pure efterfølgende – og smed ham i fængsel. Jeg har endda fået fortalt, at selvom det er absurd og uacceptabel så har Daniel værer heldig; i nogle tilfælde går folk efter at dræbe chaufføren ved en ulykke. Ja, velkommen til Uganda. En ulykke er altid alvor. Når den sker i et land hvor systemet er dybt korrupt, så bliver det ikke ligefrem mindre alvorligt.

I Uganda er der store bøder ved ulykker til både de implicerede og politiet. Hvor store afhænger af – tja, vist i bund og grund af politiets humør. Det er også sådan, at det er ejeren af bilen der står til ansvar – uagtet han har kørt eller ej. Da det så allermest sort ud stod Joel til fængselsstraf. Så galt gik det Gud ske tak og lov ikke. Hans pas er blevet inddraget (så han ikke kan flygte, hvad mange ellers gør) og der er afholdt mange møder. Der er blevet indgået aftale om en endelig pris på 15 millioner UGX (knap 35.000 DKK) til at dække dette og hint. Hvis Joel anker kommer der en retssag. Men på nuværende tidspunkt siger de fleste, at han skal acceptere, idet det er den nemmeste, bedste og billigste måde at løse det på. Men stadig. Det er pænt mange penge – ikke mindst omstændighederne her taget i betragtning. (Skulle du have lyst til give en skærv og støtte, så send mig en besked og jeg skal fortælle dig, hvordan du kan hjælpe – mange bække små..)

Alt dette betyder, at der ikke rigtigt har været tid til at mødes med Joel og arbejde. En kende ironisk eftersom det jo var hele formålet med mit ophold her. Har ærligt talt følt mig temmelig nytteløs siden jeg kom. Men samtidig har denne første uge givet mig mulighed for en tiltrængt stille stund til at reflektere over dette og hint. Der foregår mange ting både her og for mig personligt i øjeblikket. Det er relativt nyt for mig at være stille. Men det er faktisk helt rart. Onde tunger vil måske ligefrem sige, at det klæder mig! Samtidig med alt det her har der været en række problemer på skolen, som vi er i gang med at tage hånd om. En del af problemerne skyldes faktisk mig selv – om end indirekte. Der er mange positive ting med at have mzungus (som man kalder alle personer med en anden etnisk baggrund end ugandisk – en anden hudfarve end sort) tilknyttet BDI. Men der er også en alvor bagside. Men, lad mig gemme diskussion til et selvstændigt blogindlæg.

Det er dejligt at se ungerne igen. Mange er dog desværre ikke tilbage fra ferie endnu. Og endnu mere desværre er det helt efter bogen. Forældrene enten kan eller vil ikke betale for transporten af børnene tilbage til skolen imens andre tager skolestarten med et gran salt. Og så er der er par børn som desværre slet ikke kommer tilbage mere grundet konflikter, forvirring og misforståelser i deres respektive landsbyer. Vi kunne sådan set godt tage op og hente dem, men vi er også nødsaget til at afveje hvor mange ressourcer vi skal blive ved med at bruge på det. Jeg skriver ”blive ved” fordi det er en tilbagevendende situation. Hver eneste skolestart er der problemer, og det synes snart at være skruen uden ende. Skal vi bruge relativt mange ressourcer på at hente to børn tilbage eller skal vi i stedet sætte ind med vores knappe ressourcer på de børn, som allerede er tilbage? Det er ikke nemt. Men svaret er samtidig indlysende; vi er naturligvis nødt til at fokusere på de børn, vi har tilbage.

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I have now been back in Uganda for a week and as usual everything is quite chaotic in that wonderful TIA way. Or, well – irony can appear because honestly it’s not always easy to find order in the chaos here.

I had only been here a few days when everything turned upside down. A very serious accident happened in Semuto – the place where we have land and a small farm and where the future school is to be build. Joel’s car was involved and the cause of an accident. A boy ran across the road, and in order to avoid hitting the boy, the driver took a quick turn. The boy was saved and nothing happened to him. Instead the car crashed and rolled five times. Four people were in the car and three of them were hospitalized. Daniel, who was driving Joel’s car, escaped with bruises because he was wearing his seatbelt. Yet when the police came they beat him up  – and of course denied it afterwards – and threw him in jail. I have been told that even though this is crazy and unacceptable then he was lucky; in some cases people are killing the driver of an accident. Yeah, welcome to Uganda. An accident is always serious and sad. When it happens in a country where the system is deeply corrupt, things quickly get a lot more serious.

In Uganda there are huge charges and fines for accidents to both the people involved and the police. How much depends on – well, basically the mood of the policemen and –women. Also the owner of the car is held responsible whether he was the one driving or not. At one point it looked like Joel, as the owner of the car, would have to go to prison. Thank God it didn’t happen. The police took his passport (so he can’t escape which many people otherwise seem to do) and they have had several meetings. The final deal is that Joel has to pay a total of 15 million UGX (approximately 6,000 USD) to cover this and that. If Joel appeals they have to go to court. But at this point most people tell him to accept as this is the easiest and cheapest way to solve it. But still. 15 millions is a lot of money – doesn’t really get less considering the circumstances here. (If you would like to support, please send me a message and I’ll tell you how you can help. Many hands make light work..)

All this means that there hasn’t really been time to meet and work with Joel yet. A bit ironic since that was the whole purpose of me coming here. I have honestly felt quite useless since I came. Yet this first week has also given me the opportunity to step back and reflect about – well; many things. This is a time where many things are going on both here at BDI and in my personal life. It’s kind of new for me to be quiet. But it actually feels good. Some may even say it becomes me well! While all this is going on we also have a number of problems at school that we are trying to take care of and solve. A part of the problem is actually me – though indirectly. There are many positive things about having mzungus (the term used about people with a different ethnical background than Ugandan – a different skin color than black) supporting BDI. But it also has a serious downside. I will save the discussion for a separate blog post.

It’s wonderful to see the kids again. Unfortunately many of the kids are still not back from the holiday. And even more unfortunately it’s “the usual business”. The parents either can’t or won’t pay for the transportation of the children back to school while others take the beginning of a new term with a grain of salt. And then there are a few children who will unfortunately not come back to our school due to conflicts, confusions and misunderstandings in their respective villages. We could go there and bring them back to our school, but we also have to consider how many resources we will continue to use on it. I write, “continue” because it’s a recurring situation. Every new term we have this problem and we need to think carefully now. Should we use a lot of resources to get back two children or should we use our scarce resources on the kids that are actually at school? It is not easy. Yet at the same time the answer is obvious; we need to focus on the children we have at school.